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Old 10-11-2010, 08:01 AM   #1
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Heated Tanks

This my first trailer with heated tanks. Presently there is water in the black tank and water in the fresh water holding tank but nothing in the gray tanks. My question is whether it is safe to turn on the tank heaters with the gray tanks empty? I couldn't find anything in the owner's manual. I can easily add water a couple of gallons to the two gray tanks but hadn't done so to reduce weight when we start traveling again. A second question is regarding leaving the tank heaters on while we are rolling down the road. Is it ok to do so and are the heaters effective during towing?
Temperatures are dropping every night now and it won't be long before it starts to freeze. We won't be heading south until 2 Nov. and while I don't expect extreme cold by then, overnight freezes are almost inevitable.
Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:21 AM   #2
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hopefully, u will get another answer that is more informed than mine. i've read on the forems says that u shouldn't turn them on unless there is liquid in them. i don't believe they actually work until the tank gets around 40 deg.

on the weight of the water while traveling. have u tried pulling with ur fresh water full and empty and compairing performance of ur viehicle (acceleration, braking, and fuel economy)? on mine, i can't tell any difference. useto always run dry until i spent the night in a full hook up campground that lost the water 1 hr after we got there. like to have some water to flush with while on the road (traveling between campgrounds).
it makes sense that the weight would reduce performance but it is such a small percent added. u can carry less. i usually run abt half.
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:07 AM   #3
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Jim,

That is my understanding as well. The heater pads are supposed to have a thermistor that modulates the current to maintain a constant temperature. This arrangement is similar to the "belly band" I use on my wine fermentation bucket to maintain the temperature of the fermentation when it gets colder than 70 degrees in the basement. It just plugs in and modulates itself.

All things being equal, I don't think you can burn the pads out, or melt the plastic, running them with an empty tank.

I would not take the chance myself though.
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Old 10-11-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys! I'll pout some water in them this PM. There's a frost warning for tonight.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Jim,

That is my understanding as well. The heater pads are supposed to have a thermistor that modulates the current to maintain a constant temperature. This arrangement is similar to the "belly band" I use on my wine fermentation bucket to maintain the temperature of the fermentation when it gets colder than 70 degrees in the basement. It just plugs in and modulates itself.

All things being equal, I don't think you can burn the pads out, or melt the plastic, running them with an empty tank.

I would not take the chance myself though.
Somehow, i would have thought it would have been a little more elaborate than a simple thermistor....interesting. maybe now i can find out if mine are really working or not. the light doesn't come on on the switches.
i would love to see actual schematics of the control boards for the frig and whatever else is in there. i haven't tried but doubt if the manufactures want u to see them.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:07 PM   #6
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Jim,
The light should come on with the switch. If you are not getting a light you need to check the circuit breakers. The pads are AC and only work on shore power.

I will try to find the site that sells aftermarket circuit boards for the fridge. I seem to recall there was more info there.

Ah, there is more info here:
http://www.dinosaurelectronics.com/
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:17 PM   #7
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yep that was the site.

i haven't found a blown fuze or a breaker off. i'm hoping that it is something as simple as the bulbs burnt out on the switches. (my switch handles light up). probably would put a lot more emphsis on it if it got cold here. there is a general wiring diagram on the cardnal web site.

those frig boards, i keep treatning to go out and make some parts placements on the board and take a few voltage readings. then if it goes out, i should find what is different. i've been threatning to do this for the last 8 yrs. still wouldn't mind studing a schematic and seeing what they are doing.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:58 AM   #8
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If the pads only work on shore power then obviously there could be a problem with towing in cold weather. I'm really surprised that they don't work on DC as well.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:36 AM   #9
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i was looking at some wiring diagrams for a 30ts but haven't looked to see what year yet. in that diagram, they work on 12 v. draw abt 5 or 6 amps each.
i've never tried mine when i wasn't plugged in to shore power.
my trailer was purchaced new in 2002. they worked when i got it and a couple yrs later, they didn't indicate that they were on. dealer repaired didn't know what they found. now they aren't indicating again. they haven't been a priority because they aren't needed here.
now that i'm retired, i'm tending to want to look a little deeper into it now.
i downloaded several wiring diagrams and will post the link if i can find it.

try this and see if it works.
http://www.cardinalrvclub.org/redbird/viewforum.php?f=42&start=0
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Snowyowl View Post
If the pads only work on shore power then obviously there could be a problem with towing in cold weather. I'm really surprised that they don't work on DC as well.
Just think of the wattage involved. It would destroy your batteries amp hour capacity.

As for towing, I doubt if the tanks were warm to start out, that they would freeze in route.

I worried about the plumbing since we drive to FLA from PA in January.
Last year it was VERY cold and we did not get above freezing until GA.
I thought about leaving the heater running with the cabinets open, but decided against it for safety reasons.

As it turned out we had planned our trip with 4 hour legs between campgrounds and the camper stayed well above freezing the entire trip with no additional heat. I did leave the cabinets to the plumbing open so the warmer air in the camper would circulate into the pipes.

I also used a 12DC clip on fan to force the warm air into the cabinets while we traveled.
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